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"Big things" on the horizon for Nation

Nation's eclectic musical stylings have been catching ears and eyes up and down the country for more than a year.

Their distinctive, melodic electronic rock and pop grooves are a fresh mix in a Southland original music scene dominated by overdriven guitars and chunky hard rock rhythms. 

The band's biggest challenge to date has been maintaining a stable lineup.

Vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Miharo Gregory says the band's fluid membership has largely been drawn from the Southern Institute of Technology's music and audio degree programmes.

The current lineup is Gregory, Ngarewa Reid on guitar, Jordan Robertson on bass and Marcus Gurtner on drums, but getting them into the same room at the same time is difficult as Gurtner doesn't live in Southland.

The previous lineup, which played its last gig together at the Players Hasta La Vista closing show in June, was Gregory, drummer Jo Hutchison and bass guitarist Andrew Cornford. Before that, keys player Hertzog Burger was also on board.

Gregory is undeterred. He sees big things on the horizon for Nation.

"I understand trying to make a living out of music isn't for everyone and that was the case with some of the members but I plan to keep going hard. The new lineup is spread across the country at the moment but we will all be together in Wellington before the end of the year."

Nation have done some recording with "Chainsaw" Charlie Bronson and Mi-Sex keyboardist Murray Burns in Byron Bay, Australia, and are now recording their debut album, which Gregory hopes to release by the end of the year.

They've also been gigging up and down the South Island, which Gregory says has been fun.

He describes Nation's sound as "very diverse. There are plenty of big synths and guitar riffs but there are also some real groovy songs as well. While musicians will appreciate the musical aspects of the songs the music is still accessible and exciting for non-musicians."

Having Ngarewa "Nug" Reid in the band also opens up new sonic possibilities. Better known as a technically proficient speed metal player, his guitar work adds another dimension to Nation's sonic palette.

"He's a great writer and an awesome guitarist. I'll show him an idea on guitar and once he's played it back I'll think, 'ah, that's what I meant'."

Gregory believes Invercargill's original music scene has gone off the boil in the past year but is still healthy, largely due to the musicians SIT attracts to the city.

"It's surprising the amount of local acts that are active down here. I'd say it's dulled down a little bit in the past year or so and it's sad to see Players close it's doors but original music is still pretty healthy in my opinion. I like the Invercargill music scene because it's tight knit. Everyone is friendly and everything is shared. Bands support each other's sound even if it's not their own. Nation has shared the stage with rap, folk and metal acts and they're all happy to jam out together. 

"The SIT music and audio courses get musicians together under the same roof and naturally bands start being formed. When people from different backgrounds get together with open minds, genres start melding together and the music becomes really interesting. I think this is something unique to Invercargill and the tight-knit stage-sharing scene definitely helps."

See them: Nation will be playing at Stadium Southland before the Joseph Parker boxing event on Saturday.

Hear them: Check out Nation's You Tube video for Tides.

Like them: on Facebook

 - Chris Chilton, The Southland Times

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